IS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka attacks as police blame two brothers

Photo: EPA Army personal prepare to deal with an explosive device found near a church in Colombo on Monday.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a series of deadly attacks on Sri Lankan churches and hotels that killed more than 320 people on Easter Sunday but did not offer supporting evidence for the claim, news wires reported.

“Those that carried out the attack that targeted members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are Islamic State group fighters,” a statement released by the group’s propaganda agency Amaq said. It presented no immediate evidence for the claim, or further details on the attackers.

The claim came after Sri Lanka’s government said initial investigations suggested the attacks had been carried out as “retaliation” for shootings at two mosques in New Zealand last month that killed 50 people. The government in Colombo blamed a little-known local Islamic extremist group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), but said it was investigating whether they had international support. Meanwhile the police sources told AFP that the attackers who targeted two of the hotels on Sunday were Muslim brothers, sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader.


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